We spent the morning in Jerusalem at two magnificent museums. Both reflect a history of the chosen people that we must never forget. We toured the Israel Museum, which houses the original Dead Sea Scrolls at the Shrine of the Book. We also saw a number of wonderful archaeological finds we saw that connect directly with Jesus and the Bible.
But the most moving museum was Jerusalem’s Holocaust Museum, Yad Vashem, which remembers the more than six million Jews who were murdered during WWII simply because they were Jews.
The museum’s path led our group before disturbing scenes suspended on pale walls. Life-sized murals of living skeletons stared at us. Corpses lay piled after mass-executions in photo after photo. Hundreds of discarded shoes lay under a glass floor. In another area, a recording read aloud the names of children and their ages at death. Chilling . . . and so very sad.
The Hebrew phrase Yad Vashem means, “a hand and a name,” an idiom from Isaiah 56:5 that refers to a memorial. How could anyone forget such horrific events?
But the museum has its rays of light as well.
(Photo: “Row of Righteous Gentiles” at Yad Vashem)
Righteous Gentiles Inspired Me
Before leaving, we visited the “Row of Righteous Gentiles.”
- Trees were planted in dedication to individuals like Corrie Ten Boom, Oskar Schindler, and many others who assisted the Jews during a time when few did.
- Amazingly, of the 300 million people who lived under Nazi domination, 90% were Christian . . . and 60% described themselves as very devout. And the number of those who helped the Jews? Less than 1%.
Corrie Ten Boom and her family were common people—watchmakers, ordinary citizens—who became extraordinary simply by their willingness to be available to God.
- Moses said, “I’m not a good speaker.”
- Gideon said, “I’m not prominent enough.”
- Abraham said, “I’m too old.”
- Jeremiah said, “I’m too young.”
- Peter said, “I am a sinful man.”
But God used them all—in spite of themselves. Why? They had willingness.
Janusz Korczak Memorial at Yad Vashem honors one who sheltered Jewish children during the holocaust
Whenever I think of the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, I remember those whose trees grow along the “Row of Righteous Gentiles.” Should we not be like them? Should we not shine “as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15)? While God may never call us to put our lives on the line in the midst of a holocaust, He does require that we die to self—and take up our cross daily (see Luke 9:23). God using us in a powerful way has little to do with our education, abilities, or giftedness.
It’s our willingness that makes the difference.
Continue Your Tour!
Learn more about each of these sites we saw, including devotionals for each one, by exploring these links:
See My Pictures from the Tour—and on the Map!
Check out my pictures of our tour. I’m adding to the collection daily, so be sure and check each day’s post. Click the locations on the map below to see pictures from that site.
(Can’t see my pics? Just click here and select a post.)